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Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will review the advice to returning officers regarding conduct at polling stations to accommodate the beliefs of members of the Assembly of Yahweh. 
Mr. Raynsford: Guidance to returning officers on electoral procedures is now a matter for the Electoral Commission. In addition to voting at polling stations any elector may now vote by post and we are inviting local authorities at the May 2002 local elections to pilot such innovations as voting by telephone or on line.
Ms Keeble: 332 households in west Wiltshire were accepted as being homeless in 200001. As at 31 March 2001, there were 90 households in temporary accommodation and 15 households in bed-and-breakfast accommodation.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will take steps to give local people stronger powers to block the inappropriate siting of mobile phone masts. 
Ms Keeble: The changes to the planning procedures and guidance for telecommunications mast development which we introduced on 22 August this year greatly strengthen public consultation requirements on mast proposals of 15 metres and below (subject to a process of prior approval by Local Planning Authorities) so that they are the same as for planning applications. This gives local people a much better opportunity to have a say on mast proposals. Local Planning Authorities already have the ability to turn down mast applications where the do not consider amenity aspects have been adequately addressed. Our guidance also advises telecommunications operators to consult local people and Local Planning Authorities before submitting applications for masts of any size.
Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the implications of the findings of the National Joint Council on Formby Fire Station for that at Heswall. 
Dr. Whitehead: The Merseyside Fire and Civil Defence Authority's application for my right hon. Friend's approval, under section 19 of the Fire Services Act 1947, to change the duty system at Heswall Fire Station remains under consideration. He will not grant approval unless he is satisfied that the Authority has consulted and, on advice from HM Fire Service Inspectorate, that national standards of fire cover will be maintained.
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The National Joint Council for Local Authorities' Fire Brigades' Scheme of Conditions of Service provides for consideration of proposed changes in duty systems at fire stations. This is a separate procedure, but my right hon. Friend will wish to consider the implications of the recent adjudication in respect of Formby Fire Station.
Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when work will begin to improve the electricity supply to allow 12-car trains to run on the North Kent rail lines. 
Mr. Jamieson: Railtrack is undertaking a review of Power Supply capability for the Southern Region and is in discussions with the Strategic Rail Authority to address the issue in relation to Mark 1 replacement.
Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the railway stations in the North Kent lines that need to be lengthened to accommodate 12 car trains; and when this work will be carried out. 
Mr. Jamieson: Stations on the North Kent line which would require platform lengthening include Abbey Wood, Deptford, Erith, Gravesend, Greenhithe, Greenwich, Higham, Maze Hill, Northfleet, Plumpstead Rochester, Slade Green, Strood, Swanscombe, Westcombe Park, Woolwich Arsenal, and Woolwich Dockyard. The work to lengthen platforms is primarily dependent on the implementation of Thameslink 2000 and discussions with the incumbent franchisee.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will arrange for every registered keeper of a motor vehicle to be invited to take part in consultations in respect of future motorway building, improvement and widening schemes. 
Mr. Jamieson: There are a number of opportunities for registered keepers of vehicles and other road users and interested parties to take part in consultations on motorway building, improvement and widening. Public consultation takes place during studies such as the multi-modal and road-based studies, and prior to a preferred route announcement, and on the publication of draft orders. We do not propose to consult on a national scale with registered keepers of vehicles as this would not be cost effective.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the cost is of the consultation taking place on the future of the M1 motorway; who is carrying out the consultation process; and what safeguards are in place to ensure that the views of road-users are heard. 
Mr. Jamieson: A number of Multi-Modal Studies and Roads-Based Studies are currently being carried out which include sections of the M1 motorway within their remit. Consultation is undertaken at key stages of the studies to ensure that the views of road users, local public, businesses, environmental interests, transport users, operators and other regional interests are taken into account. The consultation process is overseen by the
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Study Steering Groups and carried out by the appointed consultants for each study. These arrangements ensure that road users and other interests have the opportunity to express their views.
Final figures for the costs of consultation will not be available until the studies are completed. However, the average total cost of a study, including the cost of consultation, is approximately £1.5 million.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what monitoring arrangements are in place to ensure that his Department and its agencies give prompt and proper attention to inquiries received from members of the public. 
Dr. Whitehead: The centre of the Department and each of its agencies have set targets for each of the "Six Service Standards for Central Government". Performance against these targets is monitored annually and published in a Cabinet Office report (copies are available in the Libraries of the House).
Mr. Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will publish the results of research by Heriot-Watt University into the effectiveness of the Government office guidance on managing unauthorised camping by travellers; and when he will publish revised guidance. 
Ms Keeble: My Department published a summary of the research findings on 2 November. A copy has been placed in the Libraries of the House. We plan to publish a revision of the current Good Practice Guide on Managing Unauthorised Camping by Gypsies and Travellers early next year.
Mr. Jamieson: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Department's advisers on railways safety matters, have advised that all rolling stock is designed to operate safely even when fully loaded, and passenger loading does not affect the train's stopping performance or its structural integrity.
Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many offences were recorded on trains from Preston to Blackpool in the most recent year for which figures are available; and how many of those were alcohol related. 
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Mr. Jamieson: The British Transport Police, who are responsible for policing the railways, have provided me with the following figures. In the period between 1 April 2000 and 31 March 2001, a total of 354 offences were recorded on the railway routes between Preston and Blackpool and at least 19 of these were alcohol related. These figures include offences committed on the trains and at the stations.
Mr. Jamieson: We recognise the effect that anti-social behaviour, including drunkenness, can have on both train staff and other passengers' perceptions of their personal security. We are working with transport operators, local authorities, the police and others to improve personal security on transport, through such means as publishing good practice guidance and improving the ability of the British Transport Police (BTP) and train operators to deal with crime and anti-social behaviour. The BTP work closely with the train operators to identify hot spots of disorder. If necessary measures such as increased patrolling and special operations will be undertaken to control the problem.
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